History, Theory, Evidence, and Implications
By R.G. Price - March 5, 2006
Updated - May 2, 2006
Current Theory of Biological Evolution
The present day "Theory of Biological Evolution" has come a long way since the days of Darwin. The merger of Darwin's ideas with genetics, which took place in the 1920s, is known as Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, or neo-Darwinism. Some of Darwin's specific ideas have been rejected through scientific inquiry, holes in his ideas and evidences have been filled, and many new avenues of thought and evidence have been brought to light.
The most significant discovery that has impacted for our understanding of evolution is the discovery, in the 1950s, of DNA, the molecule that serves as the instruction set for life. What Darwin and other evolutionists that came prior to the discovery of DNA were primarily able to do was present evidence for the historical occurrence of evolution. What these people were not able to do, however, was fully explain how evolution actually took place, because they did not know how reproduction and inheritance actually work. Today DNA itself is at the center of our understanding of evolution, because DNA is really where evolution "takes place".
Present day evolutionary theory does, however, still contain the basic principles that were laid out by Charles Darwin. Those principles are:
* Common descent - All life on earth comes from a common ancestry, and thus all living things are related to other living things.
* Modification through reproduction - All living things on earth come from other living things, and when new livings thing are created there is a potential for the manifestation of novel traits.
* Mechanisms of selection - Living things that survive and produce offspring generally pass-on the their traits.
These three principles constitute the basis of "The Theory of Biological Evolution". Having said that, the principle of common descent is a somewhat contentious issue because total common descent for all life on earth is not a necessary aspect of evolutionary theory. In theory it could be possible that there are many different ancestral origins for life on earth, and if there is life on other planets it is almost certain that that life would have a different origin, yet we would also expect that that life would have developed through a process of evolution. Though the evidence does not suggest this, it could theoretically be possible that life on earth originated in several different environments and that the current population of the earth has multiple different origins. If this were true it would not invalidate "evolutionary theory" in general, but it would invalidate one of the specific principles of "The Theory of Biological Evolution", because this theory does state that all livings things on earth have common ancestry.
It is also important to note that The Theory of Biological Evolution only deals with the development of life from living things, it does not address, in any way, how life originated. There are evolutionary models that have been used to explain how life might have originated, but so far there is no specific explanation for how it did originate. Due to the passage of time, and our inability to go back in time, it will probably never be possible to say with certainty exactly how life did originate, but it will be possible to prove or disprove ways that living cells can naturally form from non-living organic matter. The import(ant) thing to note, however, is that The Theory of Biological Evolution does not address the origin of life, it only addresses the subsequent development of life once life existed. (Evolution theory does though...!)
For more information on biological evolution see: http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/understanding_evolution.htmhttp://www.evowiki.org ; http://www.talkorigins.org . (added by the analyst). (So Book no.2 of Pure Logic, fully addresses what more is Evolution and Biology Evolution and what "brains" really are both Religion and Evolution "science"...!)(The highlighted areas above speak for themselves partially...!)(dec2009 message to all the "dumbo's" of the "world").